Bitcoin’s price remained stable as news surfaced of a bug in Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) shutting down half of its nodes.
On Tuesday, BU’s node numbers dropped suddenly from around 800 to 400, with developer Andrew Stone and investor Roger Ver subsequently confirming that an attacker exploited a bug in the protocol.
Stone wrote on Tuesday:
“We are seeing an abnormal, hard-to-create input result in a negative outcome so we are classifying this as a network attack.”
The events unleashed a frenzy of social media activity which even engulfed some of cryptocurrency’s best-known names.
Core developer Peter Todd took to Twitter to deny any involvement in the bug, about which he tweeted an hour after the malicious episode began.
FYI, BU nodes started crashing about 30 mins after BU published it on Github; I tweeted 1hr later.— Peter Todd (@petertoddbtc) March 15, 2017
I had _nothing_ to do with the attack. pic.twitter.com/C0WWMG80ab
Responding to Todd, tech blogger Avatar X alleged that fellow developer Greg Maxwell had said that two further bugs were present in BU which had “yet to be fixed.”
Ver, meanwhile, received hostility. One BU node operator accused him and other responsible parties of “plain incompetence” as panic gripped a community to whom Ver had only last week unveiled a brand new mining pool.
"Normally, in Bitcoin Unlimited when we find a Core bug we just fix it and move on" https://t.co/cqQaIm5FZJ— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) March 14, 2017
Litecoin creator Charlie Lee added to the criticism of BU, stating that the bug “proves that users cannot trust Bitcoin’s $20B network in the hands of BU developers.”
1/ Today’s Bitcoin Unlimited node crashing bug proves that users cannot trust Bitcoin’s $20B network in the hands of BU developers.— Charlie Lee (@SatoshiLite) March 14, 2017
Lee also quoted suspicions that Stone’s description of BU “vulnerability” did not mathematically add up.
Only Andreas Antonopoulos, commentating that “individual incompetence” was not the root cause of the problem, appeared to remain neutral on Wednesday.
“It's about a process with diverse and laborious review, which catches bugs before production,” he continued in a series of tweets, while nonetheless praising Bitcoin Core’s development structure.
“Blaming this on "incompetence" of BU devs misses the point & undervalues the invisible but highly effective QA process that Core offers.”
BU bug: This isn't about individual competence. It's about a process with diverse and laborious review, which catches bugs before production— Andreas (@aantonop) March 15, 2017